Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Dunkirk 'little ship' Dorian to be restored

One of the Dunkirk 'little ships' has been brought to a heritage workshop at Southampton docks for restoration.

During World War II, Dorian was drafted in by the Royal Navy to take stricken troops off the French beaches.

The 43ft (13 metre) timber vessel joined a fleet of thousands of boats which set sail to save more than 300,000 soldiers from capture.

It is hoped to get the boat sailing again by 2015 for its 100th birthday and the 75th anniversary of Dunkirk.

Found in a fragile state in a London boatyard, the 96-year-old teak-hulled cruiser will undergo a complete overhaul.

'A wreck'

Jerry Lewis, from the Dunkirk Little Ships Restoration Trust, said: "She's pretty much a wreck.

"Ten years ago, 69 'little ships' went to Dunkirk but last year there were only 49 so it is vital that we continue to restore as many as we can."

Built by the navy as a tender in 1915, it served for 22 years before being converted to a privately-owned cruiser.

In 1940 it was commandeered at the government's request to take part in the Dunkirk rescue.

House boat

Dorian later became a house boat on the Thames and was almost destroyed by fire 10 years ago.

Listed on the National Historic Fleet Register, the vessel will undergo a full restoration at the city's new Aeronatica heritage site at Trafalgar Dock.

It will then be part of a planned £8m museum, due to open in 2015, which will house historic aircraft and ships linked to the city.

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